age 5 | Childhood cancer survivor (Pre-B Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)
Submitted by mom, Tayra:
At 2 1/2 years old my triplet daughter, Elena, got diagnosed with Leukemia ALL Pre-B. She started with just a tummy pain, no fevers, no other symptoms. Everyone, even doctors, thought it was just a stomach bug until bloodwork revealed the horrifying truth. In the blink of an eye life completely changed for us, for her. It’s a painful, isolated and such a difficult journey, one that no parent and no child should have to ever experience. We are blessed that Elena responded well to treatment and after 2 1/2 years of chemos, medical procedures and countless of meds she is now off treatment cancer-free. Life still is not back to normal, she has monthly check-ups for bloodwork and potential side effects. You truly don’t know how scary, painful and life-changing pediatric cancer is until it knocks on your door and invades your child’s life with no warning. Cancer knows no boundaries, it doesn’t discriminate, it doesn’t care if you buy organic or always cook homemade meals. It just happens, and as a parent, you get little to no explanations as to why. Over time I’ve become more vocal about our journey in an effort to educate others and raise awareness. Treatment for kids is based primarily on chemotherapy and meds that were developed for the adult cancer patient in mind, not for small bodies and brains that are very much still developing. Compared to other types of cancer, pediatric cancer surprisingly gets little federal funding. As a society, we need to put our kids first. Invest in their future first. This is why I’m lighting up; for my daughter and all those other kids who are currently fighting, for those who got their wings way too early in life and for those future pediatric cancer patients, so that better funding becomes available for research and treatment developed for kids. It all starts by raising awareness.